Two-thirds (66%) of Canadians plan to spend holiday dollars at Wal-Mart, their destination of choice, according to a holiday retail survey of some 2,000 Canadians conducted online by Maritz Research Canada, reports Retailer Daily.
Canadians also plan to spend 14% less than last year from an average reported spend of $663 in 2007 to an average planned spend of $571 for the 2008 holiday season.
Moreover, 70% of Canadians say they will use cash (including debit cards) to pay for purchases.
Overall, those more likely to be planning to decrease their holiday spend include women generally, Ontario and Atlantic Canada provinces, students, and those with household incomes of less than $100K.
Retailers, to differentiate themselves this holiday season, should make the following improvements, according to survey respondents:
- Offer sales and special holiday offers, 65%
- Ensure stocked inventory to meet demands, 63%
- Staff stores to ensure enough associates are working through the holidays, 56%
- Extend store hours and be open on key dates during the holidays, 41%
Canadians say Wal-Mart is the go-to store for holiday shopping this year:
- Wal-Mart, 66%
- Canadian Tire, 51%
- Zellers, 40%
- Future Shop, 35%
- Sears Canada, 33%
- Chapters/Indigo, 28%
- Shoppers Drug Mart, 25%
- Best Buy, 19%
- The Bay, 17%
- Winners, 16%
Entertainment and electronics topped the list of gift-giving plans, with 57% and 43%, respectively, of Canadians saying they would purchase these items. The top 10 holiday gift categories for 2008:
- Entertainment, 57%
- Electronics, 43%
- Toys, 41%
- Gift Certificates, 39%
- Health, Beauty or Personal Care Products, 37%
- Apparel, 35%
- Candies or Chocolates, 29%
- Beer, Wine or Spirits, 26%
- Children’s Apparel, 25%
- Hobbies & Other Specialty Goods, 24%
Intention to pay for gifts with cash this holiday season has increased since 2007, with 70% of Canadians favoring paying up front (as opposed to buying on credit) – up 6 percentage points from the 64% who said so last year.
“In a slowing economy Canadians are tightening their wallets; by telling us they intend to pay for more purchases with cash, consumers are indicating they recognize the need to be more careful about personal debt,” said Robert Daniel, managing director Maritz Research Canada.
“This is another indication that the consumer mood is changing and consequently retailers and credit card companies will also need to assess how to retain customers through superior experiences.”
About the study: The online Maritz Poll was conducted October-November 2008 and featured responses from 2,072 randomly selected adults from an internet panel survey on topics related to holiday shopping, buying behaviors and gift-giving trends. To ensure the data was representative of the Canadian population, data was weighted to Statistics Canada data for several demographic categories including gender, province, and age.